Rules and regulations
The location of your salon is of great importance, but even if you’ve found the perfect spot, there are other considerations.
Kalpana Gurung, of the Himalayan Day Spa, spent three months researching different premises for her business before she found the right location. She thought of everything: analysing the demographic of the area, carrying out market research and spending days in the British Library going through the portfolios of adjacent businesses.
However, she didn’t realise just how trying the concomitant hassles of planning permission and licensing would be.
“I was lucky to find the right place,” Kalpana says, “but the other bits took longer. Like finding the right architect: just to get the right drawings it took five months. Then by the time I got my planning permission and business regulation, and did the refurb, it took another three months!”
Even after all that, her troubles were not over: “You have to apply for a license with the Local Council – and they only give licenses if you have qualified staff. It’s a big deal.”
It is likely you will need to register your beauty/spa business with your local authority. Many people setting up their first salon or spa are completely unaware of the many issues relating to licensing and buildings, and do not expect to have to deal with planning authorities.
“I would recommend anyone starting up to go to their local authority as soon as they’ve chosen a property,” Clair Bennett advises, “to make sure that property can be used as a beauty salon. Because people assume it’s the same as a hair salon and it isn’t. It’s a different licence.”
Treatments that may need a licence include aromatherapy, massage, beauty treatments, chiropody, pedicure, reflexology, sauna, sun beds, and manicure.
To offer treatments involving intense pulsed light systems or lasers in England, you must register with the Care Quality Commission. Elsewhere in the UK, the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Care Commission, or the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety are bodies which can help.
Health and safety is a big issue with beauty spas and salons, too. It’s a good idea to make a list of all hazardous products used in the salon and obtain hazard data sheets from the manufacturers. As some of the products used in spas and beauty salons can contain harmful substances that can cause skin and respiratory problems, it’s essential to assess the safety of your products. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Essentials has been developed to help salons and spas comply with safety laws.
If you have a shower or an automatic spray tan booth on your premises, you will also need to consider the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria from water systems.
On a less dramatic note, if you are planning to play sound recordings – whether it’s relaxing birdsong, panpipes or the Top 40, it’s worth bearing in mind that to play sound recordings in public, you need a licence from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL).
And check out parking allowances for your premises. As Kim Ford, of beauty industry body BABTAC, notes: “Bearing in mind the client has to leave the salon with no makeup, or maybe have some reddening of the skin after a wax treatment and so on, I really think parking is essential alongside the location, for trade.”